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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  December 22, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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12/22/14 12/22/14 >> from pacifica this is democracy now. these officers were shot execution style, particularly despicable act, which those -- goes at the very heart of our society and democracy when a police officer is murdered. >> as two new york police officers are shot dead by a maryland man with a lengthy arrest record, the police union accuses new york mayor bill de blasio of having blood on his hands. >> that is blood on the hands
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that starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor. >> we speak to a retired nypd detective about the killings, the recent protests against police brutality and police-community relations. then to the hacking of sony films. >> i don't think it was an act of war, i think it was cybervandalism that was very costly and expensive. we take it very seriously. we will respond proportionately. >> the united states is accusing north korea of hacking into sony pictures prompting sony to withdraw its comedy, "the interview," about fictional assassination of north korean leader kim jong-un. as the u.s. is now considering putting north korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, many cyber experts question if north korea could have pulled off the massive hacking operation. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. new york city is grappling with the aftermath of the first targeted killings of police officers in years. officers wenjian liu and rafael ramos were ambushed in broad daylight while sitting in their patrol car in brooklyn on saturday. the shooter, 28-year-old ismaaiyl brinsley, fled to a nearby subway station where he turned the gun on himself. shotg from a single gun wound. earlier in the day, brinsley had shot his former girlfriend in maryland. he later used her instagram account to make anti-police statements suggesting he would kill officers to avenge the deaths of eric garner and michael brown. new york city mayor bill de blasio condemned the shootings. >> this was an assassination.
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these officers were shot execution style, particularly despicable act which goes at the very heart of our society and our democracy when a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. us.s an attack on all of it is an attack on everything we hold dear. >> criminal records show brinsley had a troubled history with the law, with multiple arrests and at least two years behind bars. his family says he had mental issues, including a reported suicide attempt a year ago. the officers' double-killing was condemned by the families of unarmed african-americans recently killed by police and the protest groups that have sprung up in response. on sunday, eric garner's mother gwen carr, and his widow, esaw gardner, said the killings have no connection to their quest for justice. >> we are going in peace. and anyone who is standing with
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us, we want you to not use eric garner's name for violence, because we're not about that. these two police officers lost senselessly. our condolence to the family and we stand with the family. >> i want to express my condolences and heartfelt sadness for these two officers and their family. i know what they're going through to lose a loved one right before the holidays and every thing. it is so sad. i would ask everyone that is protesting with us, please protest in a nonviolent way. my husband was not a violent man, so we don't want any violence connected to his name. >> the officers' murders have highlighted police animosity toward new york city mayor bill de blasio over his response to issues of police brutality, racial profiling, and the recent protests. some officers turned their backs on de blasio on saturday evening when he walked through the hospital where the slain pair
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was taken. the head of the patrolmen's benevolent association, the city's biggest police union, said de blasio "has blood on his hands." the group later denied issuing a widely-circulated statement that claimed -- "we have become a 'wartime' police department [and] will act accordingly." protests against police brutality and racial profiling continued over the weekend, with actions including a sit-in at brooklyn's atlantic center mall on saturday and a silent march in harlem on sunday. protests were also held across the country this weekend. over 1,500 demonstrators shut down minnesota's mall of america for several hours on saturday afternoon, calling for justice in the cases of eric garner and michael brown. at least 25 people were arrested. one day earlier, dozens of protesters were arrested in milwaukee after blocking traffic on a major highway for over an hour. the action centered on the case
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of dontre hamilton, an unarmed mentally disabled black man shot dead during a confrontation with a police officer on april 30. milwaukee governor scott walker -- wisconsin governor scott walker has called up the national guard to be on standby to be on standby. the prosecutor who oversaw the michael brown grand jury has acknowledged knowingly calling witnesses who weren't telling the truth. in his first interview since announcing the non-indictment of officer darren wilson last month, bob mccullough told a st. louis radio station he decided to call all potential witnesses, even those who lied. >> early on, i decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was going to be presented to the grand jury. and i knew that no matter how i handle this, there will be criticism of it. so if i did not put those witnesses on, then we would be discussing now why did not put those witnesses on, even though
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their statements were not accurate. i thought was much more important to present anybody and everybody. some, clearly, were not telling the truth. >> mccollough claims the lying went both ways. he acknowledged that one witness who testified in officer wilson's favor "clearly wasn't present," at the scene, an apparent reference to witness 40, a woman with a history of mental issues, racist comments, and fabricated claims. in a letter, missouri state lawmaker karla may to investigate mcculloch for prosecutorial misconduct, saying -- "there is at least some evidence to suggest that mcculloch manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that officer wilson would not be indicted." president obama says the u.s. is considering putting north korea back on its list of terrorism sponsors after the hacking of sony pictures. last week, the movie studio nixed the release of the comedy film "the interview" about a plot to kill north korean leader kim jong-un. the cancellation followed
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threats against theaters and a hack of corporate data which officials say was ordered by the north korean government. speaking to cnn, president obama said the u.s. would respond proportionately, but said he doesn't consider the hacking an act of war. >> i don't think it was an act of war. i think it was an act of cybervandalism that was very costly, very expensive. we taken very seriously. we will respond proportionately. >> north korea has denied involvement and proposed a joint investigation with the u.s. government to prove it. in a statement, a north korean official said -- "we have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture, as the cia does." the official also warned the u.s. of serious consequences if the u.s. rejects the proposal and launches countermeasures. we'll have more on this story later in the broadcast. president obama delivered his final news conference of the year friday at the white house.
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obama addressed last recs historic agreement to restore full diplomatic relations with cuba, saying he will call on congress to end the long-running embargo. >> we cannot literally -- unilaterally bring down the embargo. .hat is codified what i do think is going to happen, though, there is going to be a process where congress digests it and i'll certainly weigh in. i think, ultimately, we need to go ahead and pull down the embargo, which i think has been self-defeating in advancing the aims we are interested in. >> speaking the next day in havana, cuban president castro pledged to improve the nation's economy in the wake of the agreement. castro also called on the west to respect cuba's political system after decades of meddling. >> in the same way that we have never demanded that the united
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states change its political system, we will demand respect for hours. --cannot attend by an improving ties with the united states cuba will announce its ideas for which it has fought for more than a century, for which his people have shut a lot of blood and have run the biggest of risks. >> on friday, jersey governor chris christie as president obama to demand extradition of black panther ashada shakur. he was pulled over on the new jersey turnpike. and that both the officer and a fellow black panther dead. ssata was sentenced to life imprisonment managed to escape and flee to cuba where she has lived since 1984. in a letter to president obama, chris christie said shakur should be returned to new jersey before any diplomatic ties are restored. at his wife's house news
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hiserence, president -- at white house news conference, president obama addressed's pending decision on the keystone xl pipeline. he said the pipeline would not even have nominal benefit to u.s. consumers, and although it knowledge -- acknowledging it would create temporary jobs, said the u.s. could create far more by investing in public infrastructure. >> there is a global oil market that is very good for canadian oil companies and good for the canadian oil industry, but it is not going to be a huge benefit to u.s. consumers. it is not going to even be of nominal benefit to u.s. consumers. those aren't completely insignificant, you know, it is just like any other project, but when you consider what we could rebuilding we were our roads and bridges around the country, something that congress could authorize, we could probably create hundreds of
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thousands of jobs were a million jobs. >> president obama only took questions from female reporters at his news conference. a decision the white house says was deliberate. new figures show the official death toll from ebola in west africa has topped 7300 out of more than 19,000 known infections. the world health organization says western sierra leone is currently the hot spot of the continued outbreak, though the most victims have died in liberia. and the u.s. has released four afghan prisoners from guantanamo bay. all four will return to afghanistan where they'll apparently be able to live without restriction. speaking to cnn, president obama said he will do everything he can to close guantanamo. >> i'm going to be doing everything i can to close it. it is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact these folks are being held
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is contrary to our values and wildly expensive. >> you want them in a super max? >> i would think it does not make sense for us to spend millions of dollars for individual-- per when we have a way of solving this problem that is more consistent with our values. >> with the latest release, there are 132 prisoners left at guantanamo. and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. new york city continues to mourn two police officers killed in broad daylight on saturday when a gunman ambushed them. officers wenjian liu and rafael ramos were sitting in their patrol car in brooklyn when 28-year-old ismaaiyl brinsley approached the car and shot them dead. brinsley then fled the scene, eventually turning the gun on himself as police closed in.
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earlier in the day, he shot his former girlfriend in maryland. she survived and called police. you later used her instagram account to make anti-police statements for suggesting he would kill officers to avenge the deaths of eric garner and michael brown. he announced online -- "i'm putting wings on pigs today. they take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs." criminal records show brinsley had a troubled history. he was arrested 15 times in georgia, four times in ohio, and served two years in prison on charges that included robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. >> on sunday, mass was held at st. patrick's cathedral and mourners gathered at a makeshift memorial to remember the life and service of the officers. at a news conference, officer rafael ramos' aunt lucy ramos thanked the community. >> i would like to thank all of those who have shared their sympathy and support for our beloved family member rafael
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ramos, who will always be loved and missed by many. i hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss of life that has occurred so that we can move forward and find an amicable half to a peaceful coexistence. we would like to extend our condolences to the liu family. >> on sunday, president obama issued a statement that said -- "i unconditionally condemn today's murder of two police officers in new york city. two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification." and, new york city mayor bill de blasio said the attack on the officers is an attack on all of us. >> although we're still learning the details, it is good this was an assassination. these officers were shot execution style, particularly despicable act which goes at the very heart of our society and
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our democracy when a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. it is an attack on all of us. it is an attack on everything we hold dear. todepend on our police protect us against forces of criminality and evil. foundation of our society. and when they are attacked, it is an attack on the very concept of decency. therefore, every new yorker should feel they ,too, were also attacked. our entire city was attacked by this heinous visual -- individual. >> meanwhile, some police officers have criticized new york city mayor bill de blasio, accusing him of unfairly siding with protesters rather than police killings of eric garner and some police officers turned their backs to mayor de blasio
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on saturday evening when he walked through the hospital where the slain officers had been taken. the president of the police officers union, patrick lynch said the mayor's office should be held accountable. >> there is blood on many hands tonight. those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protests that try to tear down what new york city police officers did every day. not god to warn it must on, it cannot be tolerated. that is blood on the hands that starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor. >> that was the president of the police officers union, patrick lynch. well, for more, we're joined now by two guests here in new york . graham weatherspoon is a retired detective with the new york city police department. he's also a board member of the amadou diallo foundation. and steven thrasher is a weekly columnist for the guardian u.s.
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his most recent piece is called, "two nypd cops get killed and 'wartime' police blame the protesters. have we learned nothing?" graham weatherspoon and steven thrasher, welcome to democracy now! let's start with graham weatherspoon. your response to what happened and response of the patrolman's benevolent association to what happened? flashbacks.e had i came into policing during a in new york period city in the mid-1970's when crime was off the hook and guns were found everywhere. and police officers at that time were being killed at the rate of no less than one a month in new york city. i was on the funeral detail with transit police. i attended funerals routinely. we rehearsed at the brooklyn
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casket company, doing the procedures. my partner was shot in the face in 1978. he was off duty, going out to dinner with his mother. he saw something that didn't look right anyone to check it out. it was a robbery of an elderly woman. he was shot point-blank in the face. kenny survived, thank and. the call came over the radio that a member had been shot. transit police had poor radio communication. i called command and we were working in the village, and when spoon,d, a fellow said, it was kenny. at the station. imagine what the families are going through.
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we know there's always -- you know, death stalks all of us in so many different ways, but to have an incident such as this, even with the timing of the , it is beyond tragic. it is horrific. not since the burn execution or attended execution of burn have we seen something this evil. gasoline is throwing on the flames. i think he should take time to consider what he is saying. i understand he is he union leader, his job is to promote the welfare and benefits for his members. but this doesn't follow the feet of city hall. this is a societal issue. this man had an extensive criminal history, and he is not
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a new yorker. he was not part of anything going on in new york. we know he shot his girlfriend. he drove to new york. he was suicidal. he took an attempt on his life a year ago. so there are mental problems. ,e have a very violent society unfortunately. so here it is things have escalated in that man's life to the point, well, i'm going to kill some cops because i really want to die. we generally call it suicide by cop. when you see people come out and do crazy things just so they can be shot by the police, they really want to die. i've seen it before, cases i've worked on. we had a guy barricaded and he took his own life after killing two people. there is a lot. i wish pat lynch would consider drawing back from the politics. he doesn't make the call as to whether or not the mayor or the police commissioner will be
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present at the funeral of a deceased member. that is a call made by the family. >> what are you referring to? >> he said a while back, and quite prophetically, if a police officer is shot, they will not be welcome at the funeral. that was reprehensible to say. -- is going to have commissioner bratton, is going to have to sit down with him and rein him in. pat lynch is a member of the new york city police department. and to bring adverse criticism against the department is grounds for dismissal. he will only be a union president as long as he is a member of the police department. he is still a police officer. i'm sure that mayor bill de blasio is going to sit down with the commissioner and the three of them are going to have to come to terms. i think pat should bring it down because no one in new york -- nobody.
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my pastor spoke about the officers yesterday in church, and brother ramis, he just completed his chaplaincy training. he goes to a sister church to my church. he was due to get his certification this week. these are not bad guys. they were not part of the problem, they were part of the solution. >> on that note, there is been an attempt by some, especially -- linking what happened with ismaaiyl brinsley to the overall protest, as if the protesters were protesting against police in general rather than specific practices. your reaction to this? >> my mother used to call me when something happened. she would call me up -- i said, mom, i did not do it. give me a chance. i didn't do it. we can't broad brush anybody. blacks have been broad brushed in the society. latinos have been broad brushed. all groups have been broad brushed.
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there were some outstanding police officers out there. and some in a personally. they are not happy about what has transpired with the situation on staten island and other cities, because it cast a dim light on police officers. we'reath of eric garner, waiting for the grand jury -- all of these things. i don't think the general public in new york city is looking to go into a violent mode. protesters are right. it is a constitutional right of the people. we have to remember that. beatingt a matter of police to the point where you are now under a lockdown by the department, whether it is new york city were any other city. people have the right to protest and make their voice heard to the political entities who are required to set policy and procedures. talks were going to take a break and then come back to this discussion. graham weatherspoon is a retired detective with the new york city police department. he's also a board member of the amadou diallo foundation.
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was a young man who died in a hill of police bullets, 41 to be exact, in february 1999. his mother has formed this foundation. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we are talking about the aftermath of the killing of two police officers on saturday, what the mayor of new york, mayor bill de blasio has called an assassination. our guests are graham weatherspoon and steven thrasher a weekly columnist for the , guardian us and a doctoral student in american studies at new york university.
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talk about the police killing and what this means for new york and the country. >> it is an extremely sad time, obviously, and we've seen a lot of theater leading into this as detective weatherspoon was saying, putting fuel on the fire . just the night before, less than 24 hours before the shootings happened, i was at a pro-police rally here in new york city. >> friday night? >> friday evening at city hall. i have been covering ferguson in the summer and protests here in the city the past few weeks. there's been a lot of tension building. there were not many people on the pro-police side, but they were extremely vitriolic invoking a lot of military imagery and 9/11 imagery and talking about the people who were protesting police brutality as if they were enemy combatants. you could really tell in this theater, even though it wasn't many people, that there are was already a lot of anger at mayor
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bill de blasio and just for letting people exercise the constitutional rights. i could tell at this time, this is going to get really ugly if anything actually happens to a police officer because people were talking about just scuffles. >> where they police officers themselves? >> they were mostly members of families, asn record with their names, but there were off-duty officers and there were many retired officers and family members. >> there was also a counter protest at the same time, wasn't there, friday evening? some people try to move on to the brooklyn bridge? >> yes, and when the two groups were encountering each other, it was disheartening. had all most all nonwhite people against police brutality analyst entirely by people in support of the police. the anti-police brutality crowd would say, hands up, don't shoot. the white people on the other side would respond, hands up, don't loot. >> and they were selling
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t-shirts? >> a man was giving t-shirts away. i don't know if he was selling them. that was the photo i took that went viral on twitter that said "i can breathe." yet people using the dying words of eric garner against the anti-police brutality -- >> saying i can breathe? >> yes. we got used to hearing "i can't breathe" and that is taken off from many all across the country wearing those shirts. read from colorado said he a story in the new york post, came away from colorado, brought a rolling suitcase full of "i can breathe" t-shirts and gave them away. whether this was officially sanctioned by the policemen's benevolent association or not, there was -- it was extremely disconcerting to see supporters wearing these taunting shirts. whether this came from them or
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not, it is really disturbing to see this is the level of some people in the police department. as the detective was pointing out, you have a surveilling insurrection when you have -- civil unions erect and when you have people turning their backs on the hospital, the pba saying the mayor and protesters have blood on their hands. it is extremely worrisome and disappointing. >> i want to ask you, i was talking to one of my editors who said he'd never seen this kind of conflict the between civilians and police. i said, of course we have. we saw it during the dinkins you're a -- era. there was a protest of about 10,000 cops that i was turned into a riot at city hall just at the time the city council had established a civilian complaint review board and there was a really ugly situation there directed against that mayor then. >> and mayor giuliani addressed the crowd -- >> he was stirring the pot. >> this was 1992.
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there were saying things like calling dinkins a washroom attendant. >> he wears slick suits. all of those things. we have lost track of the police officers -- police officers are public servants. public servants. you can't be a leader in less you are willing to serve. you must be willing to serve the public. at the attitude there is an "us and them" attitude been through theo department. we at a police captain who said, if you get hurt, it will most likely be a black or latino who hurts you, so you have to be careful. i killed one already and i sleep well at night. we had him removed from his command that day. correctly, it was bratton who is the chief of transport at that time. we had that captain removed from his command. we cannot exist with "us and them."
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"we," we will not exist. the german camel way from colorado. simpson era. this gentleman came from maryland the committed a crime. his other fellow comes from colorado ringing shirts in here. he is starting -- stirring up the pot. he is not a resident of new york. the police officers and union should of had enough intelligence to tell him, listen, that is not what we are about. with the shirts away and go --ad with the presentation put the shirts away, and go ahead with the presentation. giuliani to go to rudy . >> it is suddenly true given treated to about three or four months of propaganda about how the police are the enemy, police are the problem, but there's a major problem between the police and the black community. i call it propaganda because the reality is, the police into
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reaction with communities is a reaction, it is not the cause. the cause is why those police officers were there yesterday. they were moved from one precinct to another because there was more crime and that precinct. they were there to protect the lives, and this particular case, a black people in that neighborhood. the reality is, the problem here innerizen crime in cities, it happens to be black crime. >> steven thrasher, your response? >> i have always been kind of frustrated with mirror giuliani. he is also pouring gasoline on this like that lynch did, putting the letter for to ask people to sign away having the mayor there hypothetical funeral futures. -- future funerals. people are exercising their constitutional right and then saying they have some sort of
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culpability for this. the protesters are not causing police brutality. ae protest have arisen as reaction to police brutality. this is sort of the way that racism works. in ferguson, we had darren wilson who is not indicted. he doesn't apologize. he says he is nothing on his conscience. he was probably paid a fair amount of money for his interview and will probably get more writing a book, and so on and so forth. he doesn't have any credibility. racism in a lot of ways plays out in police interactions that all black people somehow now have to apologize for this crime and all protesters after apologize for this crime. and mayor giuliani, of course, .as no problem linking the two his own daughter has been arrested for shoplifting -- well, i don't know if she was arrested or not. i don't think he would become trouble with the police reacting to her the way they would have other people, but he makes a sound like there's no need for a
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judge or jury or trial for police to use more brutal force. eric adams,n to former police officer who cofounded the organization of 100 blacks in law enforcement. on saturday, he called on protesters to hold off -- hold off out of respect for the slain police officers. >> i'm asking all of those to hold forth of any form of protest until these officers are laid to rest. it is time for new yorkers to come together. >> that is now brooklyn borough president adams. graham weatherspoon, you were a part of that organization. sunday night in harlem, there's a protest against police brutality, but also is served as a vigil for the slain police officers. >> yes, the black community is not anti-police. i think all new yorkers are
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pro-police and anti-bad policing. elliott's it's -- elliot spitz did a report. he said that the way in which nypd was doing and utilizing stop and frisk, it was improper. but yet raymond kelly persisted with his venue. should a police commissioner not listen to the attorney general of the state of new york? and if he will not, what does that say to the members of the department down the line? eric and i have worked closely over the years. i am known him since he was a rookie. i think the recommendation is called for out of respect for the loss of the lives of these two gentlemen and also keeping in mind eric garner and the others. reflect,need to
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meditate on what is going on and just allow the families to move through and transition through this period. it is not going to be easy for them. when you come to the grave site, that is the real hard-hitting aspect of it. but i think we should give the families a chance to just meditate and get themselves together, get the help they need . as with the families, such as eric garner and others, who have died over the years. after the cameras are gone, no one questions what condition the families are he and after the funeral. theamilies are in after funeral. that is something you may want to look at and write about. the tragedy that goes on post media. some of the families i've talked with, people suffering with depression, thoughts of suicide,
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insomnia. it is very horrific what goes on after the person has been laid to rest. >> steven thrasher, i want to ask about mayor bill de blasio is now at the low point of his relationship with the police department and at the same time, he has announced all of his reforms in an attempt to change the culture of the department by retaining -- returning all police officers with the aim of reducing the number of violent confrontations between police and citizens. your sense of what this means in terms of any reform efforts by the mayor in the coming year? >> i think any excuse is going to be used to try to stop reform . we see it in ferguson and the mall of america. anytime you're inconveniencing people in challenging them there is going to be friction. and this is going to cause a lot of friction here in new york city. the mayor name into the office not with the great to live credibility. the police department, the
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aboutan, talking already his son, when he did talk about having the talk with his son, which every lack father, including mine, had with me. he is white, but he had it with his mixed race black son. that caused so much uproar with the police department. it was over the obvious there was going to be a lot of pushback. the thing that is most confusing, i don't how to deal with, you see him and the police department in acting certain reforms. if you go back a couple of years, we had 700,000 stop and frisks. this year, i think we should top out at 30,000 to 40,000 by the end of the month. even know they are down and crime is down, i believe there are over 80% of black and hispanic and men. how do you change that? that is not something a matter of doing it to protect -- training, but that speaks to the inherent racism and racial profiling we have. >> you speak of i grown experience with police are in
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new york, as a young african-american, steven thrasher. >> i wrote for the first time publicly about my own violent encounter with the police. my father had much more charge or interactions with the police than i had. one time i went out running. they open the streets up in summer. when i got to the end, i brought my phone with me but there were some police officers and asked one of them for the time. the cop put his hand on his gun, started to pull it out of the holder. saw the look of terror on my face and just said, ha ha ha ha, just kidding, as if this was a joke. then he told me the time. i left. i thought about going back to get his badge number. i'm embarrassed to say, i was too frightened. like going back after this cop had already threatened his gun on me. that is my most charge experience with the police.
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i am a person u.s. in education, relative access to work. we have a country full of so many people who don't have access to those things. >> your parents experience with law enforcement, being an interracial couple? >> my father was in the military. he was black, my mother was white. when they first met, my mother on arrested when they went date. she was accused of being a prostitute. eventually, -- it was illegal for them to get married in the state where they met, and in nebraska. they had to go to another state to get married. a very charged interactions with the police. he was the military police officer himself before he became a teacher. while he was going to night school in california, his his commander would try to keep them from leaving the base to go to college. pretty much every day when he would leave, he would get stopped by the same police
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officers. betweenjoint operations the base and local police. they did not like this negro try to get a college education, so they would stop and search him and put him on the foot of his car every day. i thank god i've not had that exact express but i heard about it from my father. i saw him be pulled over by the police once, which really left a mark on me. i know this is something that people go through. even though i tried to diminish my own emotions when i am in a big crowd of angry pro-cop people or when a police officer pretends like he is one of pull his gun out on me, it still takes a toll on me. >> i want to thank you both for being with us. we will continue to follow this story. steven thrasher is a weekly columnist for the guardian u.s. and his most recent piece is called, "two nypd cops get killed and 'wartime' police blame the protesters. have we learned nothing?" we will lick that at democracynow.org. and graham weatherspoon is a
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retired detective with the new york city police department. he's also a board member of the amadou diallo foundation. when we come back, we will look at north korea and the allegations they hacked into sony pictures. did they? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> president barack obama has said the u.s. is considering putting north korea back on its list of terrorism sponsors after the hacking of sony pictures. the studio first with true, now say delayed, the release of the screwball comedy film "the interview" about a plot to kill north korean leader kim jong-un following threats against theaters and a hack of corporate data, which officials say was
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ordered by the north korean government. obama was speaking to cnn's candy crowley. >> would you put north korea back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism and will you take cuba off? >> we're going to review those through a process that is already in place. we have very clear criteria as to what it means for states that sponsor terrorism. and we don't make those jges -- judgments based on the news at theday, we look facts and make those determinations in the future. >> that was candy crowley. those are last broadcast. cnn.interview appeared on north korea was on the u.s. list of state terrorism sponsors for two decades until the white house removed it in 2008, after pyongyang agreed to full verification of its nuclear sites. last month's cyber attack was
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claimed by a group calling itself the guardians of peace. the group released the salary and social security numbers of thousands of sony employees, including celebrities, and also threatened to attack screenings of the film. last week, theater companies canceled showings of the $44 million comedy "the interview" starring seth rogen and james franco. this is a clip from the trailer. >> you two are going to be in a room alone with him. >> we got the interview. >> the cia would love it if yo could ta him out. take him out. >> for drinks? on the town? >> know, take him out. >> you want us to kill the leer onorth korea? >> what? >> hello, north korea. >> you will shake his hand with a fatal dose of poison. >> >> a clip from the trailer of sony pictures' film "the interview." although u.s. officials have
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said north korea is behind the attack, many experts have questioned whether the evidence is sufficient. meanwhile, north korea has denied responsibility for the cyber attack and warned the u.s. against retaliation. according to a statement posted sunday on north korea's official korean central news agency, a top defense committee has threatened attacks on "the white house, the pentagon and the whole u.s. mainland" if the u.s. retaliates. the statement from the national defense commission, the country's top policymaking institution, said -- "the army and people of the dprk [democratic people's republic of korea] are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the u.s. in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up those citadels." >> to talk more about all this, we're joined now by two guests. tim shorrock, investigative journalist and the author, "spies for hire: the secret world of outsourced intelligence" published in 2008. shorrock grew up in part in south korea and has been writing about u.s.-korea relations for 30 years. and joining us via democracy now! video stream, christine hong is an assistant professor at university of
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california-santa cruz and an executive board member of the korea policy institute. she has spent time in north korea, including a visit to the country as part of a north american peace delegation. welcome both to democracy now! christine hong, let's start with you. can you talk about the possibility that president obama will put north korea back on the terrorism list and the whole controversy around this film "the interview" that now sony says they are not actually withdrawing, but delaying the release of? >> you know, i think that president obama's interview with cnn was very revealing. he refused to call this attack, the cyber attack anything but cybervandalism. you did not call it an act of war. i have to wonder if that is not because the united states is one of the most egregious global actors when it comes to cyber
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warfare. it would definitely be consistent with president obama's policy to maintain a hard line with regard to north korea. and by contrast, we see the united states with regard to cuba has stated that after five decades of the failed policy of isolation that was aimed at regime change, the united states has to shift its policy with regard to cuba. at the same is not true with regard to north korea. one thing a with about this film, the lines between truth and fiction are extraordinarily thin. film, whichof this very few people have seen, was actually screened in rough-cut form at the state department. the content of this film is supposedly -- you know, it is about the cia using hollywood
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entertainment and a talkshow host for the vehicle as a kind of cover to assassinate the leader of north korea. what is interesting about this film, on the one hand, it is framed in the united states and the u.s. media is a kind of free speech issue, but this is really a red herring. what is interesting to me about this is that if you actually look at what the sony executives did, they consulted very closely with the state department, which actually gave a green light with regard to the death scene. they also consulted with a north korea watcher, a man named bruce bennett, who basically has said the way to bring down the north korean government is to assassinate the leadership. and he actually stated in consulting with sony about this film that this film in terms of
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the south korean market as well as its infiltration by defectors in north korea could possibly get the wheels of a kind of regime change brought into motion. in this instance, fiction and reality has sort of a moehring relationship to each other. >> tim shorrock, i want to ask you, this is extremely unusual to see a private hacking or hacking of a private company become an international incident, in effect, but you are well aware of the close relationship between hollywood and military authorities in the u.s. government, historically. could you talk about that? >> first of all, the person she just mentioned, bruce bennett, who was a consultant, works for the ranch corporation. which is a think tank for the u.s. military and has been for
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decades. the sony ceo that happens to sit on the board of directors of the rand corporation. sony has extensive ties with u.s. national security system. its cio used to work for the secretary of defense in terms of guarding their internal security. that is one point. a second, i think this attack began inate november, early december. at that time, this cyber attack was run by this group you mentioned, this guardians of peace. they made no mention whatsoever about the film. it was about sony and its internal racism and that sort of thing. i've seen no indication whatsoever that there was any similarity of this attack to anything that north korea has been accused of before. from wiredexperts
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and others have raised real questions about the fbi evidence. i think it is appalling that president obama goes on a national stage, a global stage on friday, and basically declares cyber war. then a couple of days later, ratchets it back to some kind of .yber nuisance, cybervandalism of course, north korea is going to respond to basically a declaration of war by the president of the united states. we have a massive buildup going on in asia, military elder. -- military buildup. we need to keep north korea as the armed enemy that is going to attack us at any moment so we can defend these bases in japan, particularly, okinawa, which are publicus of a massive protest. you may have noticed, and did not notice, but okinawa and japanese voted to pull these bases out in recent elections. they want the u.s. bases removed.
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i think there's a lot of political situation going on here, a lot of politics going on , that is completely unnoticed. i think it is shameful of "the new york times" once again to be the leadership of sending out these claims, dubious claims, and possibly instigating another war to another confrontation. >> tim shorrock, i want to ask christine hong about the issue of what this means right now for north korea and china relations, and what evidence there is in fact that north korea has hacked sony. tim, would the u.s. allow a film that was about the assassination of u.s. president? >> well, you know, i can imagine what our response would be not only to an assassination of our president, but showing his had been blown apart and his skull flannel over the place. this is a racist kind of imagery for these white rich stoners to
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be laughing to the bank all the -- although it is a bank about this. it is not a matter of freedom of speech. seth rogen and his pals over there is sony are just the lowest of the low of the propaganda on north korea. you look at "the new york times" interview yesterday. he knows nothing about north korea, the u.s. bombing during the korean war, the standoff, the military crises over the last 20, 30 years, the cost of , north andpeople south. all he is interested in his making money and getting stoned. i think it is shameful that people all over hollywood, george clooney, looking at this as some sort of freedom issue. let's look at the real role of the u.s. and korea and -- you can make comedies about korea,
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"mashn make comedies like ," but let's have some humanity in these films. >> leaked e-mails between sony producer scott rudin & executive amy pascal are also making headlines. mail she wrote -- they continued exchanging e-mails. executives later apologized. we have other north korean agents lower hollywood -- in hollywood that understand this? i kind of doubt it. if you look at the early stories of this hack, which is important to do, because before north
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korea came up as a source, there are many articles in the press about this. it shows extensive knowledge of sony, who is who, where their e-mails are kept, where the stuff is kept inside their servers. i find it ludicrous to think the north koreans, so isolated and crude in the technology, have been able to completely penetrate and all must destroy an american hollywood studio like this. >> finally, christine hong, on the evidence of north korea actually doing this hacking. the u.s. relationship with north korea and china? >> i would say a couple of things. one, just to continue something that tim was saying. and it comes to north korea, it is not as though americans have a wealth of knowledge. americans have a wealth of conviction and belief, with a very little by way of knowledge and even less knowledge about a
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legacyutal multi-decade of u.s. interventionism on the peninsula and a policy regime change that is several decades old. it essentially failed. it is not likely -- >> we just have 30 seconds. >> i would just say that basically, just to go back to the narrative, which basically swapped out china and replaced china with north korea in postproduction process. the u.s. policy toward asia and pacific region, obama's policy, aimed at containing china. but it uses the pretext of a nuclear arms and dangerous north korea is a very convenient double function. and this is justified exhilaration of the missile-defense system -- >> we have to leave it there.
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>> we have to leave it there. christine hong and tim shorrock
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- ♪ i think i'm home, i think i'm home ♪ ♪ how nice to look at you again ♪ ♪ along the road, along that road ♪ ♪ anytime you want me ♪ you can find me living right between your eyes, yeah ♪ ♪ oh, i think i'm home ♪ oh, i think i'm home. - today on cook's country, bridget shows chris how to make green chili cheeseburgers. next, jack challenges chris to a tasting of mayonnaise. then, chris shares tips for grinding meat at home.

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